Wheat Pete's Word, July 10: Slugs, community, canopy micro-climates, and maximum wind!


Is 2019 the year of the weird? Maybe, says host Peter ‘Wheat Pete’ Johnson in this episode of Wheat Pete’s Word.

From planting conditions, to strange looking plants, and on to excessive and strange insect and creepy crawlies — this growing season is nothing short of odd. Johnson tackles what’s going on with things like slugs and sawfly, plus answers your top questions on nitrogen top-ups for suddenly-good wheat, fusarium management, and why dicamba is now a no-go.

Have a question you’d like Johnson to address or some yield results to send in? Disagree with something he’s said? Leave him a message at 1-888-746-3311, send him a tweet (@wheatpete), or email him at [email protected].


  • Wheat world record is 6.79 tonnes or just shy of 250 bu/acre, but we’ve hit 6.5 tonne/acre in Canada! One Nova Scotia farmer hit 239 bu/ac in a 15 acre field. Nova Scotia has that moderate climate which helps, of course.
  • Struggles in eastern Canada extend far past Ontario: Quebec, the Maritimes and Atlantic provinces are also struggling with unseeded acres.
  • Big rain events continue in some areas of Ontario, adding insult to injury. Movement of corn stalks that drift and mat up and plug culverts. Holy snappin’, Wheat Pete says. Meanwhile, hail in the last two weeks has knocked out some promising crops in western Canada.
  • Nature Nut Nick at Strathroy reminds us that we all need to pull together, and we did, but let’s remember we’re a team and a community, and our retail staff have been working so hard too. Huge thank you to everyone in the industry for getting us through this planting season.
  • Is 2019 the year of the weird? Grass sawfly has been spotted in the wheat crop. It can clip a few heads but nothing economic.
  • SLUGS! A listener sent in a photo of a wheat in head just covered in slugs. Ick. Slugs are mollusks, not insects, FYI.
  • Feed corn is in tight supply and feed mills are looking for it. After all that corn was destroyed last fall it makes you scratch your head a little.
  • It’s July… no more dicamba! It’s too hot to spray Xtend soybeans, and that means it’s too hot to spray dicamba-containing product on corn, too. Shift product. There are options. If we misuse dicamba, we’ll lose it.
  • Twisted up and spiked corn plants? Could be rapid growth or could be some herbicide damage.
  • Leafhopper alert! If you have first year leaf-hopper resistant alfalfa, it doesn’t express the trait in the first year. Scout, scout, scout!
  • Edible beans — we get about 45 days of protection from seed treatments, but then the plants are susceptible. See last point.
  • Aphids in spring cereals? Yes, they’ll move from winter wheat to spring cereal and they spread barley yellow dwarf virus. Be on the look . out in some of these late-planted cereals.
  • Fusarium out the yin-yang (you know what he means) in the wheat crop! An example of how bad it can be. A susceptible, unsprayed check has 80% infection, whereas a moderately resistant variety sprayed at the right time is showing 5% infection. We need to layer our management!
  • What does fusarium in the wheat crop mean? Combine set up is key — maximum WIND! Take a load at full wind speed, get a check on amount of fusarium damaged kernels. Then, turn the wind down in increments to figure out where you need to be. Get it out of the field ASAP. Watch the Wheat School on proper glyphosate timing, here.
  • Fleabane in those fields? Assume it’s all glyphosate and Group 2 resistant. We don’t want it to set seed. High rate Eragon is OK on wheat, barley, and triticale.
  • Nitrogen on corn question: With little rain in the forecast, do I Y-drop or hire someone to get across it? Little dew in the morning. If I Y-drop do I use Agrotain? There was only 50 pounds N on at planting. You’re going to run out. Agrotain will only protect the urea portion, and gives about 2 weeks protection. Tall corn will protect the urea quite a bit, so maybe not worth it?
  • June 5th the weather started to turn in western Canada. Areas have gone from no yield to real yield potential. What do you do for N? A caller did variable rate N at seeding, using a five-year average for yield potential, then at growth stage 30-32, went over the best fields and top dressed. But what are the options for more N? At heading out, at pollination, if we damage the pollen grains we get less seed set. Too high a risk. After anthesis, you won’t get more kernels, but we will get more yield via kernel size and test weight and some protein. Temp is a big driver. Too hot will cause burn. Wait for cool, high humidity and apply post-anthesis.
  • Meanwhile, the barley looks fantastic because of cool temps and got some moisture.
  • Yes, you can seed oats and peas ahead of wheat (for fall 2019) let’s get that open ground covered!

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